On Sunday, February 4, Senegal police forces resorted to firing tear gas in response to the rally held by opposition to protest the delay of Feb 25 elections. The rally was being held at the capital city of Dakar where protestors had gathered condemning President Macky Sall’s decision to delay the upcoming elections owing to a falling out between the judiciary and the parliament.
The announcement was made official on Saturday, February 3.
Opposition leaders have expressed their disapproval over this, with two of them announcing their decision to proceed with their respective campaigns. Opposition have urged citizens to take immediate action in a bid to safeguard the nation’s democracy. Opposition leader Thierno Alassne Sall took to his social media handle stating that he was going ahead with his campaign “with the candidates who have chosen to defend the Constitution”.
Dakar’s ex-mayor Khalifa Sall also urged the people of Senegal to “come together to save our democracy”. Similarly, opposition candidate Dethie Fall said, “We will start our campaign and we call on all candidates to do the same”.
Lately, Senegal has witnessed multiple political crises, ranging from coups to clashes between oppositions leading to the elimination of two opposition candidates from the upcoming presidential race. Experts claim that these recent debacles are destabilizing one of the most robust democracies of Africa.
What Led To The Postponement Of The Senegal Elections?
As per The Associated Press, a disagreement between the federal lawmakers and the judiciary prompted the President to put off the upcoming presidential elections. The dispute was allegedly over “the disqualification process and the reported dual nationality of some qualified candidates”.
However, opposition leaders have claimed that President Sall does not have the required power to call off the elections as the constitution states that as the country’s highest election authority, the Constitutional Council, is the only legitimate body that possesses the authority to reschedule elections under extraordinary circumstances including instances of “death, permanent incapacity or withdrawal of candidates”.
Sall’s term is set to conclude on April 2. Meanwhile, as per the electoral code of the country an eighty days’ election notice is mandatory, “meaning that the earliest a new vote could take place is the last week of April”.